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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Amazing
Adventures of Miles, Tony and Zach:
The Unexpected Trip
By Miles Vernon

June 1, 2009

Chapter 1

I was suddenly woken from a deep sleep by my friend, Tony. It was 5:20 a.m. and I was so tired. As I squinted up at Tony, he said today’s the day that we go to Antarctica. So, I got dressed, ate breakfast, and packed scarves, coats, and lots of hot chocolate. Me and Tony went into another room and woke up my roommate, Zach. Zach got dressed and packed his bags too. As we walked out of our college dormitory the dew on the grass was sticking to my boots and the foggy morning made me happy. Luckily, Tony’s dad owns a private jet, so he made arrangements to take us on this adventure in our very own jet. The pilot waved from the taxi cab and said to get into the car to begin our adventure. Welcome to the unexpected trip of Miles, Zach and Tony, and I hope you keep reading to find out more.

So let me start from the beginning to explain who we are. My name is Miles Vernon and I grew up in sunny San Diego, California. I spent my childhood surfing and catching critters in the reef. Since I always had the warm climate, I decided to go to college in a colder environment, and chose Vermont. I arrived on the campus of University of Vermont and met my two roommates, Tony and Zach the very first day. We couldn’t all be so different. Tony was from New York City, and Zach was from the countryside of Michigan, but we all got along great. I am studying to be a paleontolgist, while Tony wants to be a banker, and Zach is not too sure, but he thinks maybe an archeologist. One thing is for sure, we all love to go on adventures together. So this is how our story begins. We pull up to the small airport and the pilot, Will, grabbed his wallet, quickly paid the cab driver. We hopped out of the car and onto the steps leading into the jet. I am so excited! We enter the cabin and the engine starts rumbling. We slowly roll down the runway, and I feel us lift off into the sky. We are still waking up from our groggy morning. Zach starts to put maps, a compass, and a book of all the different animals of Antarctica on the table. We are planning on going to the land of Antarctica because we are going on an adventure to discover different animals. I know this does not seem like a normal college adventure, but we like it.

The pilot, Will, says the trip will take about 20 hours. Zach sighs because he hates long trips and flying. We look at the map and Will shows us how we will cross over most of the United States to get to Antarctica. Soon, I doze off and when I wake up, Will, is having some technical difficulties. We are about over Zach’s home state of Michigan, but it is extremely foggy and lots of wind. The airplane is constantly rocking back and forth, almost like a boat. The pilot is saying “hold on to your seats guys” because we are being thrown around. Finally, after a half hour late, Will gets the jet’s movements under control by lowering in altitude and missing all the weather patterns above. We are safe for the time being. Tony thinks we should have waited it out and missed all the bad weather, but the pilot had insisted on this morning. Tony and I start playing checkers to pass the time, and calms us. Zach decides to make us a snack of cheese and crackers and some fruit. Will seems nervous. I try not to think about the plane and focus on the icebergs, Emperor Penguins, Leopard Seals, and best of all, (the king of the world and biggest animal in the world), the Blue Whale. This is what we all are traveling to see. I take out my camera with the long, long lens when all of a sudden the camera is thrown from my hand, and is hurled through the air. Will is yelling stuff into the radio, and Zach and Tony are gripping the side of the wall nervously. Suddenly, Will seems to be busy with something in the back of the jet, and I notice he is fumbling with a pack. In the Jet, there is a red light beeping and the honking of an alarm. Will puts something on his shoulders, and finally, I realize he is getting on a parachute, and ditching us. Before we can react, he has opened the cockpit and jumps. We are left alone, screaming. I look at Zach and he is disoriented, so I slap his face and start barking orders. The plane is spinning down toward the ground, and it goes black.

I wake up in a daze and look around. As I look around, I see someone on the floor next to me, and there is smoke everywhere. The smell of burning. I start to yell because I know that this aircraft will explode any minute. I take charge, and stumble up, and brush myself off, and grab both the guys next to me. We hobble out, and only seconds later after we are farther away from the jet, a giant explosion pushes us to the ground once again. We are safe. When I look up, I see cactus, and a little bird, I think it is a roadrunner standing beside me. Where are we?

Chapter 2
The recovery

I get back on my feet and walk back to burning jet, which by now, is calmer than minutes before. Tony is brushing off the debris from his clothing, and Zach is yelling very loudly about Will leaving us behind during a crash. It is a little confusing to me to realize that Will left us, but I have to put that aside for now.

An hour later, Tony tells me that we packed for the wrong trip because we were supposed to being going to Antarctica, where it is freezing cold, and we ended up here in desert conditions. I look around and all I can see is miles and miles of sand, cactus, Yucca (which is the state plant of New Mexico) and a Pinyon (which is the state tree).

Since Tony’s dad is really into flying and going to different countries, Tony knows all about each state in the United States, and all the various countries. I ask Tony. He thinks we are in the state of New Mexico, because of the land and the animals he sees in the distance, particularly the roadrunner, which is the state’s bird. As Zach sits in the dusty sand and trying to get his cell phone to work, I start noticing my surroundings. There are kangaroo rats, coyotes, woodpeckers pecking holes in the cactus, and a Gila monster. I also see a Mexican red-kneed bird-eating spider, and I remember reading about that particular type of spider in class. All three of us walk back to the quietly burning jet, and I notice my camera on the ground, smashed to bits. There are maps strewn about as well. I pick up one of the maps, open it, and notice it is the state of New Mexico. We sit down next to Zach who is involved in cleaning his phone and desperately trying to get it to work. Tony and I look at the map, and we immediately realize where we are – the desert in New Mexico. We are in trouble, without any communication, and it is hot. As we look at the map, Tony says we should head towards the city of Santa Fe, which is the most civilized place in the state. We go through our packs and check for water and food. After we get situated, we start walking, trying to get to the city of Santa Fe. While we are walking through the desert, I see a white blur sticking out of the sand. I get down on my knees and examine it more closely. This is where my paleontology study comes in handy. Zach thinks it is a dead burrowing owl, while Tony suggests it is a desert tortoise, but I know it is really a Coelophysis, which is a small scavenger like dinosaur that lived in the Triassic period. They were about a foot tall, and the size of a cat. Therefore, we decided to dig it up and of course, I am carried it. After an hour or so, we all got hungry but all the food had been burned in the crash. Zach suggested we hunt, as they do in Michigan, to get our meal, but we do not have a gun so passed. Zach hunted regardless, by throwing rocks at various animals in the area. At first, he tried to hit Chuckwallas, which hides between rocks so enemies cannot find them. He failed to get a Chuckwalls, but he did get a Gambel’s Quail, which blend in well with the desert, but Zach was good. After he killed the animal, luckily with Tony’s lighter we could start a fire. However, the problem was there was no wood so we looked for a cactus that had dried or dead vegetation of some sort. We found a dried up yucca plant, that was perfect to start a fire with. A few minutes later, after the fire was started and was big, we cooked the Quail and ate it. It was the most delicious bird I ever ate!

Chapter 3
Finding Santa Fe

This morning our big goal was to reach to Santa Fe on foot, so we picked up our pace by a fast-paced walk. As we started jogging, a couple of bugs annoyed us, by climbing up our legs and biting our ankles. These bugs were darling beetles, and as I looked around I noticed-desert centipede, tiger beetle, desert locust, scorpion, and the worst of all, the tarantula hawk wasps. While walking through the desert, we became hot and tired, and thankfully, Tony had filled three flasks with water, which we all carried. We were very careful to only take small sips so as not to run out of our important drinking source. A couple miles later, we came across some civilization, such as a small town. I noticed a sign that said, “Carlsbad National Village”. Finally, we are near people again, and not the creep Will who ditched us. We walked through the town in amazement I noticed everyone stared us with their mouth’s open. Did we look weird? I wondered to myself. However, then, I noticed that all the people in the town were dark skinned, and looked Hispanic, so we were very different looking to them. Besides, we were very dirty and beat up looking. We saw some stores, and one was called, “La Groceria”, which I think means little grocery store. Let me say that we were starving! So, we ran inside. Because Tony was well traveled, and lived in New York City, he spoke enough Spanish to get our point across. He explained how were had been on an airplane, it had crashed, and we had just walked for miles to reach this town. Before I could understand what was happening, the older woman in the shop was yelling “Policia Policia Policia”. Soon, we were surrounded by what seemed the entire town, the crowd parted, and a man with a stethoscope approached. There really was not anyone around who spoke English, but Tony translated. Soon enough, I was ordering what looked like roasted Road Runner from the main counter of the restaurant. It was surprisingly very expensive and Tony asked why it was so pricey. The man spoke to him and said Road Runner run in zigzag patterns to confuse their enemies, so it is very hard to catch and makes it a delicacy. Finally, we ask we are located, and as the sign had said, we were in the town of Carlsbad, very close to the big city of Santa Fe. Soon enough, there were English-speaking people who had been called to help us out, but it was not necessary. The only injuries we incurred were Zach had a small scratch on his elbow – a miracle! Tony asks the crowd for a cell phone and soon enough, we were talking to our parents and letting them know we were safe. However, Tony’s father was so angry with WILL! Tony’s father immediately called the air force, and within an hour a fleet of jets appeared over the horizon, landed and doctors rushed to our side. I think this was a little much, but we did need the ride. As we were getting ready to board the plane home, a little local boy handed me a blanket-covered basket. He spoke to me in Spanish, while Tony listened. We climbed the stairs, waving goodbye to the friendly people, and took off into the air once again. Zach was afraid because the last time we were in an airplane, we crashed. Once in the air, I finally pulled back the blanket and peeked into the basket. I saw, to my amazement, a baby elf owl. As I studied the little creature, I noticed he had a bright yellow beak, grey fluffy feathers, and big brown eyes that looked almost cartoon-ish. He was the cutest bird I have ever seen. We glided through the air, and I glanced at Tony and finally, asked what the little boy had said to me in Spanish. Tony told me “friendships can last a lifetime”. As three best friends, we sat in the airplane, quiet for the first time on this whole trip. Finally, Zach, Tony and I named the little owl, Phoenix. We knew that even though this was an unexpected trip, we had a great time and stuck together, and we will never forget it!

P.S. Will was arrested and charged for abandoning his crew – that was not the right choice to make.

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